By Ellen Rawson
Remember the following facts. Stacey Earle is a very
sophisticated woman. She has survived divorce, raised children (one of
whom, along with her second husband, plays in her band), loved a brother who
overcame drug and legal crises, and worked in the Nashville music industry for
years writing songs for other people before striking out on her own.
Remember this information while listening to her second release, Danciní with Them That Brung Me.
Itís tempting to forget it as she softly twirls her audience, with her gentle
twang and seemingly simple musical arrangements, down a quiet road to a setting
that feels more relaxed than contemporary times.
Earle opens with the only song on the album that she didnít
write. Co-written by Maria McKee (of Lone Justice fame) and brother Steve
Earle, "Promise You Anything" (previously recorded by Steve Earle on
his album The Hard Way) feels
light and airy; its country flair is compelling. She continues with the
"promise" theme on the second song, "Is It Enough (I Luuuv
You)," co-written with husband and bandmate, Mark Stuart. Again,
itís a light song with a bridge that gives it
serious overtones, but itís not enough to disrupt its
carefree, romantic mood. "Kiss Her Goodnight" (featuring Sheryl Crow
on backing vocals) is another light-sounding song, but its gentle tone belies
its lyrics about how love shouldnít be taken for granted. With a pink
breast cancer awareness ribbon drawn next to the songís lyrics, itís all too
easy to interpret what she means when she sings: "They miss her all
right/They miss kissing her goodnight."
While her songs may seem simple, they actually delve into the
human psyche. "Did I Say Iím Sorry" closes with the
insightful "I find words so easily/But, only those that look good on
me." "No New Shoes" adds a new spin to the Cinderella
story with "Standing there with a hole in her soul/She left, bare to
the bone/I guess her feet grew cold." She is direct and personal in
"Good-by" as the narrator in the catchy chorus realizes how much and
what she has lost and how she may recover.
Earleís first album, Simple
Gearle, received adulation and earned her fans. Danciní with Them
That Brung Me doesnít show a single sign of a